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About Voice of Vashon
|COVID-19 Vashon Situation Report The Vashon Emergency Operations Center produces this briefing for our emergency workers and for the community. The situation report is published Tuesday and Friday and includes information on Vashon community response actions and support.|
You can read the full text of today’s report as a PDF and access older ones at:
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Vashon Vaccine Availability:
Overview: Vaccination availability ticked up this week, with the arrival of a full shipment of (approx. 1,000 doses) Pfizer vaccine at Vashon Pharmacy yesterday morning. The Pharmacy continues to receive assurances that the major requirement for second doses next week will be fulfilled, although no firm shipping information will be received until later this week or early next week. There appears to be a lower level of demand for vaccination, now that over 2,000 Vashon residents have had their first shots. Vashon has one of the highest reported vaccination rates in King County, according to Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC). Unfortunately, receiving even two doses of the vaccination will not change much of how we go about our lives right away. For health and safety of yourselves and others;
We all still will need to mask up
We’ll still potentially be vulnerable to any mutated variants of the virus
We’ll still potentially be able to spread the virus to others
The vaccine is highly effective, but some people will still get infected
VashonBePrepared continues to support the three providers who are approved by the state to do vaccinations on Vashon. They are Vashon Pharmacy, Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge, and Vashon Natural Medicine. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) recommends that you check the following four websites to see if there is updated information beyond what we compile in these Situation Reports, which are published Tuesday and Friday.
Vashon Pharmacy: The drive-through vaccination site returned to service this morning, with a steady stream of patients who signed up last night at the Vashon Pharmacy’s online appointments page. There is enough vaccine in this shipment to run the site through next Monday. The extremely intense demand for vaccination seemed to ease off slightly, and the Pharmacy’s online appointment system handled the scheduling load throughout the evening. The appointment system was open until late in the evening, and was reopened again this morning with a steady flow of appointments being made, one every few minutes, to grab the remaining empty slots.
Vax Access: The Vax Access program pilot has now been offered to an array of social service agencies on the island, after a successful one-week pilot test conducted with the Senior Center. Taking a lesson from the pilot, managers of the project are working to be much clearer about the purpose of the Vax Access program. Going forward, VashonBePrepared’s social service partners will be collecting information on who they are able to help with access by asking clients about their particular barriers to healthcare access. Examples include those with low or no digital access, non-English speaking residents, those experiencing cognitive challenges, blindness or other severe vision problems, or other significant barriers to healthcare access. Frustration with the online signup process is not one of the barriers to healthcare access, and Vax Access should not be treated as a way around the publicly available online signup process. Strict compliance with the current vaccination tiers, 1a and 1b1, is being maintained.
Sea Mar at Sunrise Ridge: For the second week in a row, Sea Mar received a small number of doses, allocated for required second doses for patients who had previously been vaccinated at the clinic. A request for a large shipment of primary doses has not been fulfilled, and the Sunrise Ridge health center does not plan to conduct a public vaccination clinic this week.
Vashon Natural Medicine: VNM reports that it has been told it will not receive any shipments until the vaccine is available in much greater supply.
Limited vaccine supply, limited appointments. Unfortunately, there’s not currently enough vaccine available in the state and across the nation, so not everyone who is eligible will be able to get a vaccine right away. In Washington State, the following categories are currently eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines:
Phase 1a: all workers at risk of acquisition or transmission of COVID in healthcare settings; long-term care facility staff and residents; and home health and care aides.
Age 65 years and older
Age 50 and older if they live in a household where two or more generations live, (such as an elder and a grandchild), and meet these qualifications:
Cannot live independently and receives support from a relative or caregiver (paid or unpaid) or someone who works outside the home
Lives with and cares for a young child, such as a grandparent with a grandchild.
Not eligible in phase 1b1:
Someone younger than 50
Someone 50 and older who cares for a partner or friend
An older adult who is able to live independently and is taking care of their kin/children.
Current Virus Statistics:
Vashon Island COVID-19 Case Count as of 2/9/21:*
103 confirmed positive cases, 5 new cases since last Situation Report on Friday
Date of last positive test: February 9
5 new positives in past 7 days and 7 positives in the past 14 days
3 people have been hospitalized. Date of last hospitalization: December 28
2 Vashon deaths on King County dashboard, last death reported 1/1/21
King County COVID-19 Case Count as of 2/9/21:*
78,981 confirmed positive cases, 891 new since last Situation Report on Friday
1,300 deaths, 4 new since last Situation Report on Friday
Washington State COVID-19 Case Count as of 2/8/21:*
324,025 confirmed positive cases, 4,654 new since last Situation Report on Friday
4,558 deaths, 109 since last Situation Report on Friday
*Note 1: The statistics above are from the Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard as of the date listed. Numbers may not be complete, as data processing lags and the actual number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths may not yet match the dashboard.
Note 2: Federal law prohibits Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) from releasing the names of patients (HIPAA Act). For consistency of day-to-day data reporting for Vashon, the EOC uses only the Zip code data from the Public Health – Seattle & King County dashboard
“Every day at our drive-through vaccination site, we love seeing the joy on people’s faces when they get their vaccinations,” said Dr. Jim Bristow, Co-Coordinator of the Vashon Medical Reserve Corps. “Of course, they should be full of joy, because vaccination is the ultimate solution to the pandemic. However, we also hear people say that finally they are safe and they can go visit friends and their kids and take off that mask.” Vashon MRC urges everyone to understand why you still need to practice all the safety measures we’ve been using for all these months — even after your vaccination. “The vaccine takes a while to act in your body to provide its life-saving protection,” said Dr. Ina Oppliger, lead MRC physician at Vashon’s drive-through vaccination site. “It takes both shots and at least a week of waiting after the second shot to reach full protection,” Dr. Oppliger continued. She also pointed out that the two vaccines in use here in the United States are around 95% effective, but even at full power that means one in twenty vaccinated people could still get COVID-19. Also, while both available vaccines are very effective at preventing symptomatic disease, it is not yet known if the vaccine prevents you from developing asymptomatic disease which you might spread to others at risk. Everyone hopes the vaccine will prevent that kind of spread, but it has not yet been proven. “So, we must keep on with the current routine — mask, distance, wash hands. We all want to be free of pandemic worry, but this is not the right time to let down our guard. Until many more people are vaccinated, we need to protect our community, our loved ones and our neighbors,” Dr. Bristow concluded.
Public Health – Seattle & King County has posted frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. The site answers questions related to vaccine safety, how they work, when and where vaccines are available, and what to expect when receiving the vaccine. Some of the questions address the importance of post-vaccination actions, such as the need for the second dose, the continued need to wear masks, and continued social distancing after vaccination. https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/FAQ.aspx
Local COVID Activity:
Vashon Community Care (VCC): The Island’s residential care facility reports it has received two positive COVID test results. A staff member tested positive during VCC’s weekly random safety testing. That triggered a full testing sweep for all residents and staff, and the follow up testing produced an additional case. VCC completed its vaccination program last week, and nearly all staff and residents opted to get the vaccine. However, the COVID vaccinations are not mandatory, and the staff member who tested positive is yet to be vaccinated. (A report last week that all had been vaccinated resulted from a misunderstanding by EOC staff.) The two cases fit the state’s technical definition of an “outbreak.” Therefore, VCC has fallen back to strict quarantine and outdoor visits. Communal dining and communal activities have been cancelled until the state Department of Health provides an all-clear. After proactively reporting the cases, VCC implemented the strict Department of Health and Department of Social and Health Service protocols for outbreaks, including repeated testing of staff and residents for 14 days, and monitoring residents for COVID symptoms three times a day.
Vashon surpassed 100 positive tests on Sunday and is now at a total of 103. This gives us a 7-day average of 6.7 per 100K, up from an average of 3.4 so far this year. While this compares very favorably to the county as a whole at 212 per 100K, it still reflects a short-term rise in Vashon transmission.
New Developments since Last Report:
Warning, do not post your vaccine confirmation card online. “Unfortunately, your card has your full name and birthday on it, as well as information about where you got your vaccine,” the Better Business Bureau said last week. “If your social media privacy settings aren’t set high, you may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use.” Scammers can sometimes figure out most digits of your Social Security number by knowing your date and place of birth, and can open new accounts in your name, claim your tax refund for themselves, and engage in other identity theft, said Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2021/02/social-media-no-place-covid-19-vaccination-cards
Call 2-1-1 for emergency shelter. The National Weather Service has forecast a potential for cold and snowy weather this week. But, unlike in past winters, there’s no emergency shelter at Vashon Methodist Church, due to the pandemic. Anyone on Vashon who’s experiencing homelessness and wants to get space in a shelter will have to go to the mainland. The best resource for finding a space is to call 2-1-1, because shelter status may change, depending on the weather and the demand for space. Right now, the nearest active shelter is the Jefferson Day Center (420 4th Ave. Seattle, WA 98104). This shelter is currently serving men, and has space for 25. No reservations are needed, but calling 2-1-1 is still the best first course of action. Transportation vouchers are available from VYFS and other agencies. Warm clothes, hand warmers, and blankets collected by community members are also available at the community grab and go dinners, hosted six evenings per week at the Methodist church.
The Department of Health sent a message to all approved vaccine providers across the state which said in part, “VIP scheduling, reserving doses for inequitable or exclusive access, and similar practices will not be tolerated. If we find out a provider is giving out vaccine inequitably or is doing behaviors listed above or similar, we may reduce or stop allocations to that provider.” The Department of Health issued a statement calling this practice “egregiously inappropriate behavior,” and that this kind of practice is inequitable, wrong, and must stop immediately. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health-department-to-vaccine-providers-we-may-cut-your-supply-if-you-allow-vip-scheduling
Washington State hospitals find fake N95 masks in their inventory. The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) said that 300,000 counterfeit masks were purchased and distributed to some 40 member hospitals. N95 masks are considered the gold standard for mask usage, but counterfeit masks may threaten Americans’ safety. Masks that do not meet US safety standards may not filter out airborne particles effectively, the CDC said. N95 masks can also be mistaken with KN95 masks, which meet standards in China yet are not certified by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). https://www.wsha.org/articles/alert-from-3m-leads-to-discovery-of-counterfeit-n95-respirators-in-washington-state
When buying masks online, there are a few things you can ask yourself, according to CDC guidance on spotting fake PPE. The most important thing: NIOSH approval. If you are buying online, look for these warning signs on the website:
Are there typos, bad grammar or other errors on the site?
Are there website flaws, like unfinished or blank pages, dummy text, broken links and misspelled domains?
Does the listing call the product “genuine” or “real”? Legitimate companies don’t need to tell buyers their products are real — at least not in the product name.
Have reviews been left on the product, or on the seller?
For more on counterfeit masks visit: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/usernotices/counterfeitResp.html
Employment Security Department data shows that Vashon’s unemployment remains steady at 402 active claims. If you need assistance filing claims for unemployment benefits, or have questions on eligibility with the COVID-19 relief programs, the Chamber of Commerce’s Ask the Expert is available for free consultations, and will guide you on how to proceed with filing for unemployment, PPP loans, or tax returns. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (206) 200-3236.
Rapid vaccination and early reactive partial lockdown could minimize deaths from emerging highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 variants. A study based on a mathematical model calibrated to King County suggests that rapid vaccination (8,000 people per day) and more case-sensitive partial lockdowns are the two most influential factors that would lower COVID-19 adverse outcomes, considering a more contagious variant may become the dominant strain by summer 2021. The study by two scientists has not yet been through the peer review process for publication in a journal. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.02.02.21250985v1
Washington State Ferries (WSF) is hosting a series of upcoming virtual public meetings so staff can be available to answer questions and give an update on WSF COVID-19 response. New director Patty Rubstello will lead the webinars and report on progress made on key projects in 2020. Register for the 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, meeting at: bit.ly/WSFWinterMeeting2. If you miss the meeting, a video will be available at http://bit.ly/WSFCommunityParticipation
Vashon-Maury Chamber of Commerce will host a new Chamber Chat on SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans. Heather Russell, Branch Manager at US Bank, will review the details of submission and forgiveness of PPP loans, and field questions. The 45-minute Zoom meeting will be held Thursday February 11 at 9:00 am. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIkcOqrpjMjGd2XGmxQw-HDaXKXemyxNgSK
The Washington State Department of Health recently created an Isolation and Quarantine Calculator tool to take the guesswork out of knowing how long to stay quarantined. When your time in isolation or quarantine ends, don’t forget to continue protecting others. Even though you may have antibodies in your system, it’s still important to wash your hands, wear your mask, and maintain distance, to prevent spreading the virus to others. https://medium.com/wadepthealth/check-out-the-isolation-and-quarantine-calculator-189cccc584eb
The Washington State Department of Health recommends that employers screen staff and visitors (excluding customers in retail) at the beginning of each shift or each visit to the business location, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They have published a screening tool with a checklist and log for employers. Visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/~/media/depts/health/communicable-diseases/documents/C19/employee-screening-tool.ashx
Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation providing relief for businesses and workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 5061 will increase minimum unemployment benefits for workers and provide significant tax relief for businesses over the next five years, to support recovery from the economic impacts of COVID shutdowns. The bill relieves employers of individual benefit charges for claims that occurred between March 22 and May 30, 2020, the period of the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, and increases the minimum unemployment benefit starting July 1. https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-signs-bipartisan-bill-to-support-business-and-workers-d550a3a52551
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency order directing state-regulated health insurers to open a special enrollment from Feb. 15 through May 15 for people who are uninsured. “Over 600,000 people in Washington State don’t have health insurance,” said Kreidler. Anyone who doesn’t have health insurance can buy a plan directly from an insurer or through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. If you buy a plan through the Exchange, you may qualify for federal help paying your premium. https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org
Progress on Community Support Operations:
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): The EOC and other elements of our island emergency response coalition were activated in response to the pandemic emergency on March 12th, eleven months ago (335 days). Four operational priorities established by the Incident Commander, Fire Chief Charlie Krimmert, and approved by the VashonBePrepared Board, continue to guide our work: health, food security, housing security and economic recovery.
Weather on the Way: The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers have made plans to keep going safely at Vashon Pharmacy’s drive-through vaccination site for the rest of the week, even if the predicted snow (or freezing rain) materializes.
Second Doses Coming: Planning has also been underway to handle a major increase in vaccinations that will be required next week, when second doses of vaccine come due for the drive-through site’s original 400 Moderna doses, as well as the first shipment of around 1,000 Pfizer doses. The vaccination lanes at the drive-through site have been redesigned to allow greater volume of traffic, and volunteer shift length has been increased as well. (For more details on next week, see the Vaccination Availability Survey earlier in this report.)
CERT/MRC: The drive-through vaccination site team spent yesterday reactivating the site, which was temporarily shuttered during last week’s shutdown due to lack of vaccine. In the process, some changes were made to the layout of the site in order to accommodate the potential large increase in number of vaccinations expected next week, when second dose requirements will spike volume to a new record high. The new layout was working well today, the first day back in service.
Vashon COVID Relief Fund: At the recommendation of the EOC, and based on ongoing community need, the Board of VashonBePrepared made some adjustments in the 2021 budget to significantly increase the size of disbursements to local agencies and programs, in support of food, housing, and other critical needs.
Volunteers: Volunteer hours continued last week at a much higher level, reflecting activity at the Vashon Pharmacy drive-through site. For the most recent reporting period, 41 volunteers contributed almost 540 hours of work to VashonBePrepared’s pandemic emergency response. That brings the total contributed hours to about 22,925 since the activation began. At the FEMA reimbursement grant rate of $31.72/hour, VashonBePrepared volunteers have logged more than $727,000 of in-kind value available to be applied to the 25% match requirement for reimbursement grants. The total includes hours contributed by the Vashon EOC Team, Community Emergency Response Team, Medical Reserve Corps, and Community Care Team. VashonBePrepared gives thanks as well for the many hours of extra work logged during the pandemic in support of the Vashon community, by the staff and volunteers at local social services agencies.
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Vashon-Maury Island Emergency Alerts Alerts are broadcast on 1650AM, KVSH 101.9FM and the VoV free streaming app. They are published in text here, as well as VashonBePrepared.organd VoiceOfVashon.org, and the VoV Facebook page.
We encourage you to develop your 1650AM listening habit because an AM radio signal may be your only source of information in a serious island emergency.
Voice of Vashon thanks Windermere Vashon Real Estate for their support making 1650AM and this alert possible.
~ Your Emergency Alert Team